Michael van Gerwen moved into the second round of the Bet Victor World Matchplay with victory over Steven Beaton in Blackpool on Saturday.
The Dutch ace triumphed 10-7 on the opening night, rattling in seven 180s in the triumph.
However, the reigning World Champion and tournament favourite admitted that he will need to improve if he is to go all the way for the first time at the Winter Gardens.
“The most important thing is to win but I know I need to play better and I know I can and will,” said van Gerwen, who reached the semi-finals last year.
“I missed a lot of doubles tonight and I don’t know why. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself but it doesn’t worry me too much. It happens sometimes and I got away with it.
“I am looking forward to playing Ian White in the next round. I want to up my game because winning this is a big target of mine this year.”
van Gerwen won the opening two legs before Beaton managed to pull level.
The Dutchman’s second 180, followed by an 84 finish, saw him edge back ahead and he restore his two leg lead by bedding double 18.
That became three when ‘Mighty Mike’ pinned double ten but Beaton pulled one back when the World Champion missed the bull for a 170 and then squandered two darts at double eight.
Beaton punished van Gerwen for more missed darts at doubles, pegging double top to reduce the deficit to 5-3.
And a brilliant 122 finish on the bull saw ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ move within a leg of the world number one.
van Gerwen fired in a fabulous 134 finish to move 6-4 in front and his fifth maximum helped him go further clear.
Beaton replied with a neat 70 checkout before van Gerwen took out 102 to restore a three-leg advantage, only to see his opponent clean up 76 to keep himself in the tie.
van Gerwen then saw a string of double chances go missing before Beaton pegged double two to move within a leg and put the match back on throw.
The Dutchman duly broke, bedding double 18 to leave himself throwing for the match and he sealed the victory on double ten.
By Chris Murphy